Treating an addiction is rarely a simple process, and this is because there are so many different factors that play into why the addiction has occurred. More often than not, people who present with addictions have underlying issues that led to their addictions forming in the first place. As time has gone on, the importance of treating both conditions has become known, and the treatment for co-occurring disorders was developed in the form of dual diagnosis treatment.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) refers to co-occurring disorders as the existence of mental health and addiction disorders that are present at the same time. They go on to state that in 2014, there were about 7.9 million people in the United States who had co-occurring disorders.
People who have mental health disorders are actually much more likely to suffer from addiction. This stems from their need to self-medicate in order to improve how they feel. The two disorders end up feeding into each other, regardless of which one occurs first. Symptoms from one disorder can overlap symptoms from the other disorder, which can make treating them very difficult in some cases.
There are a number of different co-occurring disorders that can present alongside addiction. Quite often, patients aren't even aware of the fact that they have something other than a problem with substances, and so they fail to even obtain treatment separately for their co-occurring disorders. Some examples of co-occurring disorders include:
It wasn't until around the 1990s that researchers started to realize the importance of treating co-occurring disorders at the same time. Up until that point, patients were sent to addiction treatment first, and then they were treated for their mental illnesses. Actually, there are still some facilities that operate this way, and in doing so, they're failing to give their patients the type of help they truly need.
An integrated approach to treating addiction and mental health disorders has been found to be much more successful in patients who present with co-occurring disorders. Any other type of treatment is likely to lead to very slow recoveries, chronic relapses, and problems coping throughout life.
As was previously stated, it's not always necessary for you to know what type of co-occurring disorder you have. There are so many people who, out of shame or fear, fail to get help for their mental health issues. Because of this, they keep them locked away for fear of being labeled as a mental health patient. Even so, if you suffer from a mental illness, getting an accurate diagnosis will improve your odds of recovering from your addiction.
Are you suffering from a co-occurring disorder? It's possible that you never really thought about the fact that your mental health condition and your addiction could be linked to each other, and it doesn't help that no one has ever pointed that out to you before. Maybe you've spent years only treating your addiction because you've kept your mental health condition a secret. No matter what struggles you're facing, here at Ashwood Recovery, we'd like to help you. Please contact us for more information.Contact Us